on April 10, 2007
While planning our Sarasota trip, my first priority was to find cheap lodgings that weren't too depressing. We wanted a romantic getaway, after all, not a shoebox with a rattling A/C. The Gulf Beach Motel fit the bill. During Sarasota's low season (mid-May to mid-December), rooms start at $75 a night - and that includes a small fridge and microwave. We stayed in a small studio for $86 a night. (You can also save $10 on your reservations by mentioning their website, www.gulfbeachsarasota.com.) Each room is individually decorated and you can see them on the website. We stayed in unit 103. I would probably try a different one next time, but I was still pleased. If you have a larger group, a two bedroom gulf-front apartment is $156 a night during low season.Our room had everything we needed, including a full-size refrigerator, a nice table and chairs that didn't feel too crammed in, and a walled outdoor patio. The furnishing were a tad run-down in the same way most roadside motels are, and the curtains had a long smudge of dust or something on them, but overall everything seemed clean -bathroom, bed, floor, kitchen. The decor itself was nothing to write home about - typical "motel" style - which is why I'll probably choose a different unit next time. The best part was the access to the beach. No other beachfront hotel on Sarasota was this cheap, as far as my hours of Internet research could tell. Having Lido Beach just a stroll away was wonderful and we loved sitting on beach chairs watching a gathering of pelicans and the magnificent sunset.We did have some wacky "neighbors" while we were there - like many Sarasota lodgings, the Gulf Beach offers weekly rates, and the older couple in the next unit over seemed to have settled in. Whenever we walked outside, the wife was sitting outside with laptop cords dragging from their room to a table and chairs outside the units so she could play Solitaire in a houserobe, prompting me to wonder why you would pay just to sit around and play Solitaire. "Watch out for that cord, there." The motel might attract some wacky clientele but no one seemed bothersome or dangerous, especially not the long-legged birds that were perpetually wandering outside our unit.The staff are very friendly - due to an unexpected sickness and then a scheduling error, I actually had to call about reservations three times, and everyone was always very nice - this continued while we were there. I really felt at home.The Gulf Beach Motel is also a historical site, with a fantastic kitschy sign. If you want to kick back and enjoy some affordable old-school Florida beach living for a day or a week, I highly recommend it.
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